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A reflection on how my time at Salford Business School has prepared me for a career in Events.

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

When asking myself how my time at Salford Business School has prepared me for a career in International Events Management I have been able to put my reflections down on paper rather than just thinking them through in my head. It feels encouraging to really take the time to point out some important steps to reach closer to my career goal and to build on my experience gained during my placement year in the events industry and to therefore in the future secure a permanent position in the industry.

It has enabled me to critically analyse a career path that I think is best suited to me. I’ve had the time to experience different situations which contribute to this decision and also the support to discuss options. I’m yet to ask for advice from Salford Business School on how I can achieve specific goals and steps to get to this career once I have graduated but I feel confident that the support is there for me if I feel I need it.

The way I see it, there are three different sectors of how the business school has enabled me to achieve what I have today and are helping me to prepare for a career in International Events Management. The first being the teaching standard and modules, the second being the opportunities and options the business school has offered me, and the third being the support from staff at the business school.

The first sector I mentioned (that being the teaching) could be argued to be pretty straight forward and what one would expect when going into higher education. But when thinking about both the modules being taught and the teaching standard, when writing this reflective blog post I asked myself 1, How effective has that teaching been, when it comes to both exam day and the real work when being expected to put the theory into practical work? 2, How fitting were my modules to what I want to do when I graduate? And 3, do I feel comfortable that I have learnt a plenty more than adequate amount?

As far as modules go, so far, I don’t think they could be more fitting. In my first year being part of the business school means you study and cover the modules; Principles of Human Resources, Principles of Economics, Principles of Accounting, Organisations in a Global Environment, Principles of Marketing and Business Statistics.

Luckily for me I studied Business and Economics at A-level in sixth form so I managed to have a little more confidence when seeing terms such as regression analysis than if I was starting with a blank slate and thinking I was learning a whole new language. Don’t get me wrong though, I definitely found joining the business school at the University of Salford daunting and borderline terrifying because of the whole new experience and way of learning i.e. in huge lecture halls with 100 + other students, and coupled with moving away from home, living independently, meeting new people and making new friends. There’s no surprise I was finding it all daunting, I was jumping never mind stepping out of my comfort zone. With that being said, it was one of the greatest decisions of my life to be out of my comfort zone due to the wealth of knowledge I gained and the connections I made whilst all at the same time networking like no tomorrow.

For my second year I can’t speak for the teaching of the modules at the University of Salford as I was studying abroad at Humber college in Toronto, Canada for the year (an opportunity presented by Salford Business School that I’ll discuss later on in this blog post).

The deal was, if I was studying abroad, the modules being taught to me at Humber College, Toronto would line up to be the same if not very similar as the modules being taught at the University of Salford. Due to the modules not being able to be lined up precisely I actually got the choice to be put on a postgraduate events management course for the first half of the academic year as the topics covered lined up closer and I had already studied what the undergraduate course would have been teaching me during my first year at the University of Salford. I chose to request to be on the postgraduate course for the first half of the year to expand my knowledge of event planning and then join back with the undergraduate course after the Christmas break once they began teaching modules that I hadn’t already covered.

With it being my second year of studies into this course, I was able to get more precise with events and the events world. I absolutely adored what I was learning, I was inspired by my professors who were extremely engaging, I was enjoying what we were covering as it was more focussed on what I’d like to do once I graduate and I was loving being in a new city, in a country I had never even visited before.

Leading on from this, this is a perfect example of one of the opportunities presented to me by Salford Business School.

I knew when it came close to A-level results day that I had things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see. I didn’t quite know what those things were or exactly where those places were but I knew I wanted the option. I wanted to get a higher education, learn both theory behind the events world and gain practical learning, and at the same time I wanted to branch out and explore the world with every chance I could.

Salford Business School enabled me to take advantage of opportunities that would allow me to fulfil my dreams. I studied the foundations of business and experienced working with unfamiliar people and living independently in my first year, I also got to explore a city that was new to me. I had the feeling that anything was possible if I put my mind to it, and had the feeling that Salford Business School was behind me and would support me however they could.

I’ve already discussed the opportunity I had to study abroad and how I took advantage of that, which then leads me on to discuss the opportunity of taking a year out of my studies in between my second and final year to do a professional work experience year, also known as a placement year. Now this is a opportunity that I knew before even starting my first day at the University of Salford back in my first year of studies I wasn’t going to let slip away. I think I’ve always been aware that I learn best when I’m hands on and in the movement of execution of tasks. I went into the hunt of a placement job with enthusiasm to last a life time, I couldn’t see any bad coming from working in industry for a year before I entered my final year of university. Even if I came to absolutely detest what I was doing for that year, all I could see was that I was learning what not to go into. So nothing was lost.

I was lucky enough to secure 10 months of working with Virgin Limited Edition working for the wonderful Sir Richard Branson himself and his family on his private island, Moskito Island in the British Virgin Islands. I was working within guest services where myself and my colleagues would host guests entire holidays with almost endless amounts of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, parties, activities and day excursions. This was an amazing opportunity to put what I had learnt in my first and second year of university into practice and it felt incredible to be in the act of events. It was an invaluable 10 months of my life which was so incredibly inspiring and I feel I gained so much experience in so many different ways. Without Salford Business School giving me the option to take this opportunity, taking a year in between studies to work in the real world to gain such a rich amount of experience I wouldn’t feel anywhere near as confident as being able to enter the world of events if I hadn’t taken advantage of the opportunity.

The final sector that I think is relative to this reflection of how Salford Business School has prepared me for a career in events management is thinking about the support from staff. Even before I started at the University of Salford and decided to choose it as my first choice I thought the staff I had interacted with via email and phone were very informative and came across as approachable, which are both vital and helpful qualities when making such a big decision. I definitely feel that staff prefer to be helpful over email which I can understand because they must have so much on and so many other students to assist but I have to admit that I find I am much more assured when meeting face to face, which in first year I did occasionally but only after I chased for it. I did come to realise that learning the skill of tenacity when chasing for this face to face support proved to be invaluable.

I was aware that support was there if I needed it but I didn’t seem to chase it for whatever reason at the time. I expect I will have a lot more communication with staff in my last year than any other, this is already proving to be the case despite the challenges of coronavirus.

Finally I wanted to touch on the very current situation of COVID-19 and the support from staff particularly in regards to how the business school has helped me to prepare for my career. So far, unfortunately I think there has been very little if any support in regards to the effects of COVID-19 on my career. There are copious amounts of announcements and emails in regards to safe practices at the university with COVID-19 on campus which is good to know that the university are demonstrating a lot of care to their students and staff to keep us all safe. However, so far I feel there have been no emails, announcements or support in regards to careers and how COVID-19 has damaged many peoples starting points for their careers. And as obvious as it is, the events industry is devastatingly damaged at the moment. Despite lesson plans being arranged for the semester, I hope that the worlds situation today is used as a perfect example of what we can do with the events industry in an unprecedented time and how the events industry can adapt. I hope this is an opportunity for lectures and tutors to react immediately whilst in the middle of such a situation where we can learn alongside living todays world, rather than it being looked back on. I hope we can learn together within university teaching how to respond to COVID-19 in the events world and to develop a way forward using technology, virtual tools and any other inventive methods.

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What an interesting post Olivia! It has been a privilege to share in your journey and the amazing experiences you've had during your university years - they've passed so quickly!!! In these uncertain times, businesses are having to adapt to survive and educational establishments have been on a very steep learning curve, forced to embrace technology to keep the wheels of learning turning and within a very short time-frame (no mean feat, I can tell you!)

As you point out, the way the world 'works' has undoubtedly changed as a result of Covid-19, but that doesn't mean there aren't positives or opportunities to be explored in the future. 😊

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